Thursday, 12 September 2013

Witchcraft Wednesdays: Flying Baskets, Sacrifices to Karl Marx, Teen Exorcists Against Harry Potter & Horrendous Tragedies

Shona witch doctor (Zimbabwe) (Wikipedia)
So here's the first post of a hopefully regular weekly feature on this blog about witchcraft. Not the Wiccan kind of witchcraft. The scary kind when people die or people are just plain kooky. I sort of kicked it off last week with the world premiere all about a woman who had various rodents and small animals spring from her vagina. I hate it when that happens.

First off, I know today's Wednesday but I'm a day late. I suppose that's a bad omen. There is such a huge amount of crazy persecution of people in the name of witchcraft and superstition out there that it may be hard for me to keep up.

In Zimbabwe, two women were found naked in front of a house 400km away from their homes holding baskets containing a live owl, a baboon skeleton, some snails and an unknown orange substance. The video makes me think they may be either intoxicated or mentally ill. Either way, it's depressing. Apparently, they don't remember how they got there. Okay, they remember dreaming about flying on their baskets and running into this house. A court has very wisely ordered a mental exam for the both of them. Well, at least there's hope there because local law enforcement's pretty hopelessly sold on the whole supernatural thing: "Court officials said police officers were too scared to carry the “evidence” into court." Wonderful.

In Nigeria, a simple dispute between neighbours turned in a mob beating of a woman.  Grace Audu had gotten into a row with her neighbour, one Madam Bola. This was settled amicably by the local elders apparently to everyone's satisfaction. But then, while Grace was out buying supplies for her store, Madam Bola died. Upon her return, she was accused of witchcraft, dragged into a vehicle with the corpse of Bola and beaten for three hours straight before being dropped off at the king's palace. The king had her rushed to the hospital. The mob tried to kill her at the hospital. The police were called and suspects were dragged to the station only to be released for no known reason later on.

All of Grace's possessions were burnt during the lynching.

Then a local Humanist group came in to fight for Grace. The Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement. A representative of the group called the police station.
The Ekiti State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Victor Babayemi, told Sunday Tribune that though he could not immediately connect details of the case to any of the cases of brutality being handled by the command at present, he could assure that no perpetrator of such act would go scot free in the state. 
Well, I'm not sure if anything else will happen. The update on the Humanist association's blog doesn't seem to put much faith into the police system: "The DPO and the IPO are bribed...yet justice must be done! No going back."

Murderous superstitious lynch mobs seem to be a big problem in Nigeria. In this same week, two elderly sisters were viciously murdered and had their bodies mutilated by a mob of villagers who accused them of practicing witchcraft to murder a local 27 year old man. Apparently they had even been cleared of witchcraft by a Sharia court based on the Quran. Well, so much for the Quran.
The attackers without any hesitation slaughtered my mother and sister also mutilated their dead bodies, they burnt our house completely with all our belongings inside” Sule emphasised.
Sadly, also in Nigeria, a Christian pastor decided two teenaged girls were witches. So he locked them both up and neglected to feed them for three days. One of them starved to death, so I suppose she wasn't a witch after all.
Pastor Okoye was said to have tied two ‘witch’ teenagers for three days during a special ‘deliverance’ without food and water but rather than accomplish his purpose, the action resulted in the death of one of the alleged witches.
One may argue that psychiatric tests of the two girls would have been a little more productive. I say that a psychiatric assessment of the pastor would have been the obvious way to go.

In Swaziland, a grandfather slept a the house of some traditional healers, got home the next day, and was told by his younger wife that they were unable to sleep because there were mole hills in the backyard. This led the grandfather to the obvious conclusion that his older wife was a witch. So upon her return from a trip to the woods for firewood with her grandchildren, he hacked her to death in front of the children and then threatened them with death. Needless, to say, the children are a little upset and a tad suspicious of his younger wife, who's been whisked away to another house for safety. Yes, makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

In Dubai a laundry worker was apparently charged with conning women by claiming he was a witch and could solve all their problems.

Good news in Uganda. There is a program there afoot to educate parents that ambiguous genitalia or intersex births is a natural occurrence and not witchcraft which is the common perception there.

Meanwhile, the enlightened United States, ridiculous reality show Breaking Amish LA is featuring one of its characters trying to figure out why she's so drawn to witchcraft. She's already apparently had sex with Satan. She's leaving the oppressive Amish religious world into believing in witches and the devil. Oh well.

The very reasonable looking United Nations Rapporteur on adequate housing, Sao Poala-based Raquel Rolnik has a rather fascinating past of ritual animal sacrifice to appease a dead political philosopher.  I mean, who doesn't, right?
Yet the architect and urban planner appears to be an avid follower of Candomble, an African-Brazilian religion that originated during the slave trade. 
The academic, brought up a Marxist, actually offered an animal sacrifice to Karl Marx when she was studying for her Masters degree in architecture so ‘he would leave her alone’ to study in peace.
A ghost Karl Marx. Haven't heard that one before.

Three American teenage witch hunters and their trusty fake preacher coach are off to the UK to save it from the spiritual perils of Harry Potter. Because Harry Potter comes from Satan. Everyone knows that.
"Harry is using this magic for good. So here we have this dangerous idea that you can use this magic for good or bad when in reality all magic is bad because they are getting their power from satan," she said.
There are many many more from the past week, but this is all I have the time or energy for. The belief in witchcraft is so pervasive on this planet. It can be really funny, sad and deeply tragic all at once.

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